Sgt. Joel Morgan launched a lawsuit against Janice Roberts alleging she refused to rent an apartment to him because he is a war veteran and she is a pacifist who was against the war in Iraq.
Morgan, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, attempted to rent an apartment in Boston where he plans on becoming a firefighter. Roberts, 63, is a longtime pacifist and member of the peace group, Garden of Enlightenment.
According to Morgan, Roberts, who does not live in the building where the apartment is located, left a voice mail for him after he saw the rental unit. CBS reports the message said in part, Because of what you told me about the Iraq war...we are very adamant about our beliefs...it's just not comfortable for us...and I'm sure now that you know this, it would not be comfortable for you. I would suggest you do the right thing and look for a place less politically active or controversial.
Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to discriminate against military veterans.
Morgan told the Boston Herald, "For her to do that to me, it was just like a spit in the face. For what we have gone through overseas, to come home to our country and have people...discriminate against us...It made me extremely insecure about being a soldier."
But despite his insecurity, he is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying the incident "didn't take away my pride of being a soldier for the United States. I'll hold onto that until I die."
Morgan's lawyer, Joseph L. Sulman, said, "It's illegal, but also just unconscionable. It's something any American should be embarrassed about."
Roberts is defending the lawsuit and denies she refused to rent the apartment to Morgan because he is in the military. She gave a plethora of reasons why the National Guardsman didn't get the apartment. One was that he did not return the rental agreement (Morgan says there was no point after receiving the voice mail). She also said she had 30 other applicants and Morgan doesn't like black people (something he denies). And Roberts also said she had doubts Morgan could make the $1,220 monthly payments.
Roberts told the Herald that she couldn't understand why he would want to rent an apartment from people like her who vigorously sought an end to the war in Iraq.
Roberts has since found another place to live.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.